Volume 16, Issue 33 - August 14 - August 20, 2008

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Getting Around

Jerry, aboard, and Vickie VanDagna discuss docking fees for their Formula motor boat at Ego Alley in Annapolis, top.
Vickie shows off the well-organized cabin of her “floating home.”

Stories on the move

by Erica Stratton

Cars aren’t the fun they used to be. With gridlock, gas gouging, road rage and premium-price parking, who wants to drive to work — let alone take the car out for a Sunday spin?


For Vickie VanDagna and her neighbors from Annapolis Landing in Riva, boating is not about getting around. It’s about being there.

Vickie and her husband Jerry get out on the water at least once a week with two to five other boats, but they don’t have a specific destination in mind. Instead, they relax, socialize, swim if it gets too hot and “go down past the Riva bridge and watch the sunset.” Over the Fourth of July the community comes to Annapolis, sets up chairs on the boardwalk and “has the best parties.”

“It’s your own little waterfront property,” she says. The first night she and her husband spent on their first boat, they awoke to “the water just like glass.” A great blue heron splashed nearby. In her descriptions of how mundane cares fall away with the lapping of the water, you hear more than pride in ownership. The VanDagna’s boat is a source of peace, even a way to connect with surly teenagers, for even they mellow on the water.

The luxury comes with a price: their Formula motor cruiser — her family’s second, and so new it has yet to be named — cost $45,000. Used. “If something goes wrong, it can take thousands to fix,” VanDagna says, not to mention readying the boat for winter ($3,000), commissioning it for spring ($600) and docking fees (docking at Ego Alley runs $2 a foot).

Even so, she says, “it’s worth it.”

See last weeks 'Getting Around: Bikes'

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